The Stetson volleyball team dropped its Atlantic Sun Conference opener 3-1 (25-17,
19-25, 25-21, 25-17) to host Mercer Friday night at Hawkins Arena in Macon, Ga.
For the fourth straight match the Hatters (3-14, 0-1 A-Sun) posted more
kills than their opponent. On Friday
Stetson’s kill advantage over the Bears (6-6, 2-0 A-Sun) was 46-44, but the
Hatters could not overcome 29 attack errors and 12 service errors.
“We came out a bit flat,
I think we were intimidated by the crowd,” Stetson head coach Tim Loesch
said. “I was pretty happy with how we
played in sets two and three, we competed well and did some good things. I would like to see us play like that all
the time. We did not play as
aggressively as we needed to in game four.”
Kaley Melville recorded
14 kills and a career-high 24 digs to lead the Hatters. Ellen Hawks
tallied 10 kills and five blocks, while Cailyn Prewitt chipped in nine kills on
27 attempts. Kelli Carneal tallied 18 assists and a career-high 18 digs, while
Monique Russell picked up 17 digs.
“I thought Kaley Melville
had a pretty good day for us. Cailyn
Prewitt and Ellen Hawks also did some good things for us. We’ll get two or three kids playing well one
day, and then a different two or three the next day, but we can’t seem to get
six playing well on the same day.”
After a seesaw start to the first set, Mercer used a 6-1 run midway through
the frame to build a 16-10 lead. Despite
finishing with a 12-10 advantage in kills, the Hatters could not make a late
run and fell behind 1-0 in the match.
Stetson came out on fire in the second set, getting a nice six-point service
run from Samantha Freeman to grab an early 10-3 lead. The Hatters extended the lead to 10 points (18-8)
before the Bears fought back and cut the deficit all the way down to two at 20-18. Hawks stepped up with a pair of kills and a pair of blocks down the stretch as
Stetson held on to win the set and tie the match 1-1.
Set three proved to be the tightest of the night with the frame featuring 12 ties and six lead changes. With the score tied for the final time at
19-19, the Bears went on a 6-2 run to gain a 2-1 lead in the
Mercer carried that momentum into the fourth set, and an early 7-0 run gave
the Bears a lead they would not relinquish.
Defensively Stetson finished with eight blocks and 86 digs, just one dig shy of its season high.
The Hatters will look to rebound on Saturday as the road trip concludes with
a 3 p.m. match at Kennesaw State.